Against the backdrop of a difficult situation of the Covid-19 epidemic and the Russia-Ukraine Crisis, China's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 4.8 per cent in the first quarter (January-March) of 2022. This figure was higher than the growth rate of 4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2021 and better than what the outside world expected. The highlights of China's economic development are as follows:
First, the consumer price index (CPI) rose moderately. In March, the CPI rose by 1.5 per cent year-on-year. From January to March, CPI rose by 1.1 per cent year-on-year, which was lower than the expected target of around 3 per cent. On the whole, China's prices remained stable, which was due to the "powerful" policies and measures that had achieved positive results. Against the backdrop of huge global inflationary pressures, it was indeed a commendable achievement.
Second, the employment situation was generally stable. Efforts were made to stabilise market players and ensure employment. In the first quarter, 2.85 million new jobs were created in urban areas. The urban surveyed unemployment rate averaged 5.5 per cent. China's economic development provided more favourable base for employment, and employment remained generally stable and still has many favourable conditions.
Third, the industrial structure continued to be adjusted and optimised. In the first quarter, the added value of high-tech manufacturing and equipment manufacturing increased by 14.2 per cent and 8.1 per cent year-on-year respectively. The information service industry grew rapidly, and investment in high-tech industries grew rapidly. This showed that China's industry continued to be optimised, especially some key high-tech industries maintained high growth, indicating that the shortcomings were constantly filled.
Fourth, the industrial economy achieved remarkable results. The growth rate of industrial production rebounded, and the added value of industrial enterprises above designated size increased by 6.5 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter-- 2.6 percentage points faster than the previous quarter. The profitability of industrial enterprises continued the recovery trend since last year, and continued to promote the transformation from Made in China to Created in China.
Fifth, growth rate of investment picked up quickly. In the first quarter, the total planned investment in newly started projects increased by 54.9 per cent year-on-year, fixed investment increased by 9.3 per cent year-on-year, of which private investment increased by 8.4 per cent, manufacturing increased by 15.6 per cent, and infrastructure investment increased by 8.5 per cent. As China's support for the development of the real economy continued to increase, the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries and the growing momentum of innovation and development in emerging industries helped drive the growth of industrial investment.
Sixth, foreign trade and investment remained stable. From January to March, the export value and import value denominated in RMB increased by 13.4 per cent and 7.5 per cent year-on-year respectively, and the actual use of investment denominated in RMB increased by 25.6 per cent year-on-year. The demand for China's export products continued to increase, new forms of foreign trade were developing rapidly, and the foreign trade situation was off to a good start.
Seventh, protection of people's livelihood was strong and effective. The national per capita disposable income of residents actually increased by 5.1 per cent year-on-year, which was basically in line with economic growth. The market supply of grain, meat, poultry and eggs was sufficient, and prices were stable with some declines. Investment in people's livelihood continued to increase, and public service capabilities continued to improve.
Eighth, overall financing costs remained stable. At the end of March, the balance of broad money supply and the stock of social financing increased by 9.7 per cent and 10.6 per cent year-on-year respectively, and the corporate loan interest rate in the first quarter was 4.39 per cent, down 0.22 percentage points year-on-year. China's financial policy was launched early, and the policy tools were abundant, which strongly supported the development of the real economy.
In the first quarter of 2022, to maintain stable economic growth, China focused on the following policy measures:
1 Macroeconomic policies were intensified, especially strengthening cross-cyclical and counter-cyclical adjustments. More attention was paid to proactive fiscal policies with precision and sustainability. The large-scale VAT credits and refunds were accelerated in the first draft. The issuance of the local government special bonds was sped up. Reasonably sufficient liquidity was maintained. The financial support for real economy increased. The RMB exchange Rate was kept basically stable at a reasonable and balanced level.
2 The employment priority policy was improved. The policies were continued to be implemented to reduce burdens, stabilise jobs and expand employment. Employment assistance was further strengthened for key groups such as college graduates, retired soldiers, and migrant workers. The platform economy was promoted for the healthy and sustainable development, which stabilised and boosted employment.
3. Potential of domestic demand was unleashed with expanding consumption and promoting investment. The continuous recovery of consumption was promoted. The policies were introduced and measured to promote the recovery and development of the industries in the service industry. The new forms and models of consumption such as online and offline integration were promoted. The new start of a batch of water conservancy projects with mature conditions were sped up. The special bonds by local governments were coordinated with the issuance. The release of investment within the central budget was accelerated. The existing assets were vigorously revitalised.
4. Reforms and opening up were further deepened. The construction of a unified national market was accelerated. The reform of "decentralisation, regulation and service" continued to be deepened. The reform pilots of business environment innovation were carried out steadily. The regulations on the registration and management of market entities were officially implemented. The development of new formats and models of foreign trade were accelerated. The list of cross-border e-commerce retail imports was expanded. The reform and innovation of pilot free trade zones were deepened. The high-quality development of the "Belt and Road" initiative was steadily promoted. The multilateral and bilateral economic and trade cooperation continued to be deepened. The official implementation of RCEP was actively responded to.
5. Basic living standards continued to be ensured and improved. The epidemic was strictly and practically prevented and controlled. Vaccination drive continued vigorously. The spring ploughing production was solidly promoted. The stable energy supply was ensured. The connection between departments and localities was strengthened to smooth the flow of international and domestic logistics. The housing security was actively promoted.
"Stability" was the most prominent key word for China's economy in the first quarter of 2022. Against the sluggish global economy, China's economy on the whole maintained strong resilience. Despite the noise, the initiative of China's economic development is always firmly held by the Chinese people who march forward with courage.
It is heartening to see that the Bangladesh's economy is maintaining a strong momentum of growth, and also that the scale of China-Bangladesh economic and trade continues to be expanded, and the potential for cooperation continues to be released. I firmly believe that as long as China and Bangladesh continue to promote the "Belt and Road" cooperation, we will embrace a better future.
Liu Zhenhua is Economic & Commercial CounsellorEmbassy of the People's Republic of China in Bangladesh.